off to Sapporo! (…two months ago)

I can’t believe two months have already passed since I went to Sapporo! The memory has become almost dream-like in quality, so I suppose I’d better get on with writing my snow festival posts before I’m awake for too long and can’t recall all the glittering details!

Quick geography lesson: Sapporo is the capital of Hokkaido, which is the northernmost of Japan’s main islands. It is possible to travel to Sapporo, from Tokyo, by shinkansen (bullet train), but this would take at least an entire day (if exclusively using JR trains, to make use of pre-bought JR passes), and wouldn’t really be worth it unless you were planning to stop for a while at some of the in-between towns. I mean, this would’ve been a great option, but we were short on time, so I made the executive decision to fly instead.

Continue reading

pocket wifi

It’s been a busy week-end, so just a quick post today. This one’s another more general post, similar to what I wrote about the trains. Also realised (after I posted that) that I forgot to mention how I used hyperdia.com a lot to find train times, but also to figure out which platform we were supposed to be on to get wherever we were going. (I remember being in Hiroshima, and being unsure which train line would get us to Miyajima Guchi, so I just searched which platform we had to be on, and we took whatever train was there. It worked out well.)

It was actually really useful because you can refine the search to exclude non-JR lines (since we were using JR passes mostly). You can search all the bullet trains (shinkansen) on their too.

But, anyway, what I really wanted to write about was the “pocket wifi” that we utilised for the duration of our trip. It’s a little device that allows you (and up to nine other people) to have wifi internet anywhere you go. And thank goodness for that because, as I learnt on that first night, Tokyo (and the rest of Japan) is massive and intricate, and I don’t have the best sense of direction. I actually left most of the navigating responsibilities to KF.

Continue reading

train adventures / Tokyo – part 1c (densha)

Hmm ok, so it’s been about four weeks since I got back from holiday, and it seems like I still haven’t made a very significant dent in the documentation of the trip. I mean, I haven’t even gotten up to the most important part of the story.

But, don’t worry, we’ll get there. Can’t rush these things. Well, I guess you could, but I don’t want to.

Today I thought I’d take a break from plain narrative, and write about some of the practical aspects of the trip because they were important too. (“Densha” is the Japanese word for “train” – specifically those that run on electricity.)

Continue reading